Can this year live up to 2011?By Zachary Al-Khateeb | 08/21/2012 8:59pm
Welcome back. I hope y’all have had a great summer and are as ready for the upcoming athletic year as I am.
For those of you who are unaware, we’re coming off one of the most outstanding years, at least athletically, in Alabama history: Four national championship teams, one runner up, and a bevy of other talented teams that didn’t quite make the cut, but still made their school proud with the way they played.
So, with that in mind, I guess the logical thing to do is question, “Can we live up to the standards we ourselves have set last year?”
And the answer to that, I’m happy to say, is a resounding yes.
Don’t get me wrong. Am I saying we will have the same success we had last year, guaranteed? No. As much as I’d like to say so, I can’t see into the future. All I’m saying is we have key pieces in ultra-talented teams to, at the very least, have a chance to experience success, perhaps even more than last year.
No story about the success of Alabama athletics would be worth reading if it didn’t start off with the program’s crown jewel: the Alabama Crimson Tide football team.
Much like recent years, Alabama is ranked at or near the top of the college football world by just about everybody. Barring what would be a surprising opening week loss to Michigan and a loss to a plucky Razorbacks team in Fayetteville, Ark., Alabama’s only true test will be in Baton Rouge, La., when the Tide takes on LSU. Should the Tide win this, it could very well be on the way its second-consecutive championship and third in four years.
Moving ahead into the season, head coach Anthony Grant has made consistent strides with the basketball team and should have his team poised for what could be its most successful season in recent memory. I doubt the team will be satisfied with a mere birth in the NCAA Tournament and will strive to make an impressive dent in the tourney, at the very least.
The men’s and women’s golf programs are also coming off stellar seasons, finishing second and first in the nation, respectively. The teams have the cores returning, and a taste of success can only leave these teams hungry for more.
The gymnastics team is another team that’s coming off a national title season. Two, as a matter of fact. There’s not much to be said about this team. As long as coach Sarah Patterson is leading this team, gymnastics isn’t going anywhere.
And of course, let’s not forget about the softball team, which cemented itself in Alabama athletic history by winning the program’s first championship. Although the Tide is losing seniors that were instrumental to its success last year, this team is a lot like the football team in the fact that it reloads, rather than rebuilds.
So, there you have it. These teams, and possibly a few more, have a legitimate chance to experience some very real, significant success this year. It’s even possible we could out-do the performance we had last year. And if that doesn’t get you excited, I don’t know what could.